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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monday, December 15 - Atkinson/Chin - Two poets, two shows!

Noon: Colette LaBouff Atkinson, Mean.

12:30: Marilyn Chin at Casa Romantica.

Colette LaBouff Atkinson’s debut poetry collection is called Mean, and comprises forty-three connected prose poems which, separately and together, offering a broken and then perhaps reassembled vision of life and love from car windows and memory and movies, with literary and family history, the autobiography of a Southern California childhood --- with songs playing in the background. It’s the narrator’s journey from girlhood in the South Bay to a sad marriage to a difficult man, to friendships with his other ex-wives and the discoveries of her own forgotten family members. LA Times books editor David Ulin writes about Mean: “These bits and pieces --- unexpected, at times half-remembered --- only give more weight to her experience, a heady mix of ideas and influences that reverberates like memory in the mind.” Colette Labouff Atkinson's prose has appeared in: Orange Coast, Seneca Review, River Teeth, Santa Monica Review, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Babble, and elsewhere. She has recently taught in the literary journalism program at UC Irvine and last spring taught poetry workshops at Pitzer College. Atkinson is Associate Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at UC Irvine, and she lives in Southern California.

Poet Marilyn Chin’s recent visit to Orange County’s Casa Romantica poet series in San Clemente offered the poet reading some of the best of her anthemic and bluesy work. Marilyn Chin grew up in Portland, Oregon after her family immigrated from Hong Kong. She received an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. Her awards include two NEA grants, the Stegner Fellowship, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, four Pushcarts and a Fullbright Fellowship. Her poetry focuses on social issues, especially those related to Asian American feminism and bi-cultural identity. Volumes include Dwarf Bamboo, The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty and Rhapsody in Plain Yellow. Her most famous and most-anthologized poem is "Turtle Soup," which she reads in the recording that I play today. Marilyn Chin begins her half-hour on "Bibliocracy" with the self-introductory poem, “How I Got That Name.”

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